Fact Check: 217/2015 Law Does NOT Lead To Jail Time For Talking About Ceaușescu

Fact Check

  • de: Jurnaliștii Lead Stories
Fact Check: 217/2015 Law Does NOT Lead To Jail Time For Talking About Ceaușescu No Jail Time

Does the 217/2015 law allow for people to be jailed if they mention the name of former Communist dictator, Nicolae Ceaușescu? No, that's not true: the 2015 amendment expanded a 2002 law on hate speech to effectively criminalize the promotion of the Legionary movement and Holocaust denial.

The claim appared in a video on TikTok (archived here) published on March 29, 2023. The video includes clips from a 2015 news segment from the Romanian TV channel, B1 TV, which debated the new law on air.

This is how the video appeared at the time this fact check was written:

Ceausescu Ban.JPG

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Wed Apr 19 07:02:36 2023 UTC)

Below is a link to the TikTok video that made the claim:

TikTok screenshot

At the time, the law passed by President Klaus Iohannis drew significant criticism, as it was seen by many as unconstitutional.

The 217/2015 law expanded a government ordinance from 2002 related to hate speech, criminalizing organizations or symbols promoting fascism, Nazism, or xenophobic ideas, as well as the promotion of figures who have aspired to such hateful ideologies. There is no mention of former Romanian Communist dictator, Nicolae Ceaușescu, in the law, nor that the mention of his name might lead to criminal charges.

The Legionary Movement was an anti-democratic, anti-capitalist, anti-communist, and anti-Semitic movement associated with former Marshal Ion Antonescu in the 1940s. Together, they created the National Legionary State, a totalitarian fascist regime that governed Romania for five months, until its dissolution in 1941. This formation was led by Antonescu along with the Iron Guard, the paramilitary wing of the Legionary Movement.

The Legionary Movement still has sympathizers across Romania and the law was met with a lot of controversy and contradictions, with many perceiving the new law as censorship. The fallout from the law had little to no effect on enacting criminal charges of this kind.

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